Named after the Messmates Eucalyptus Trees you'll find scattered around our property.
Messmates is a 1.6Ha (4 acre) property situated approximately 2 km north of Inverloch surf beach some 45 metres above sea level. We purchased the property in 2012 and arranged construction of the wetland in 2013. Construction of the house was completed in February 2016.
The property has areas of remnant and regenerating coastal heath forest which has three species of mature (big, old) remnant Eucalypts, including obliqua (messmate), ovata (swamp gum) and radiata (peppermint). There was also remnant indigenous vegetation including shrubs, herbs, orchids, sedges, grasses and a fern – common bracken.
The entire property (excluding the nursery/fruit tree area) has undergone an intensive revegetation comprising some 150 species of indigenous plants sourced from the local area - South Gippsland and this project is ongoing. Virtually all plants have been propagated by Chris who has been involved in conservation of National Parks, propagation of rare species and revegetation projects for over 25 years. In addition to growing plants from seed and cuttings, once wildflowers have flowered and set seed, the availability of bulk seed has enabled trialing of direct seeding with species diversity rarely available in a revegetation project. Remnant indigenous vegetation has been retained and used as a source of propagation material. Additional species have been propagation from seed and cutting material from local bushland. The property is an interpretation of what the coastal forests of Inverloch might have looked like prior to white settlement.
The revegetation is intended to provide food and habitat requirements to encourage the return of wildlife and the results have been positive. So far some 100 species of birds have been sighted on the property including 9 that are listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act as threatened. In addition 8 species of frogs breed on the site, together with regular sightings of the Eastern Long Neck Turtle, Lowland Copperhead Snake and Blotched Blue Tongue Lizard.
Other residents or frequent visitors include Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Swamp Wallaby, Common Wombat (2 active burrows on the property), Koala, Echidna, Ringtail and Brushtail Possum and colonies of the Native Swamp Rat.
The wetland is a magnet for wildlife and home to Southern Pygmy Perch fish and yabbies. Chris is more than happy to give interested guests a tour of the property and food forest area.
Chris & Jo Owens